Press Releases

50 Progressive & Grassroots Orgs Denounce Pompeo & Haspel As Unfit to Serve

Orgs Urge Sen. Chuck Schumer, Senate Dems to
block Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel nominations

CONTACT:  Daniel Schuman, Demand Progress, 240-237-3930, [email protected]

Washington, DC — Today, 50 progressive organizations called on Sen. Schumer and Senate Democrats to resist Donald Trump’s nominations of Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel to cabinet posts and to castigate Trump for his appointment of John Bolton. Two letters were sent: one to Sen. Schumer and the other to Senate Democrats.

Labeling these picks “Trump’s War Cabinet,” these 50 organizations urged Democrats to push back against the Trump administration’s embrace of unrepentant warmongers. Trump nominated Pompeo to serve as Secretary of State, Gina Haspel to serve as CIA Director, and selected John Bolton as National Security Advisor.

Trump is trying to create a War Cabinet,” said Demand Progress Policy Director Daniel Schuman. “Pompeo, Haspel, and Bolton exemplify the dangers of the Trump administration, which has embraced erratic policymaking, military adventurism, and a casual lust for war.

He added: “As Secretary of State and CIA Director, Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel would march lockstep with Trump and Bolton’s move to war, providing neither balance nor thoughtfulness to our foreign policy.

Pompeo’s unsuitability as the nation’s top diplomat is self-evident. During his tenure in the House of Representatives, Pompeo evangelized for torture. He has claimed all Muslims are “potentially complicit” in terrorism. Pompeo pushed for war over diplomacy with Iran and, despite promises to the contrary during his confirmation hearing to be CIA director, has used his perch to undermine the Iran nuclear deal as well as to promote Haspel to Deputy CIA Director even with her notorious reputation arising from her involvement in overseeing torture. Moreover, having the nation’s top former spymaster run its diplomatic arm will discredit the work of the foreign service.

Haspel’s actions should disqualify her to head the CIA or serve in any position of public trust. In 2002, during her time as a CIA clandestine officer, Haspel oversaw a secret prison in Thailand where the CIA tortured detainees. As a senior person overseeing at least one interrogation involving repeated waterboarding—which is, in essence, deliberately causing a person to drown—as well as other forms of torture, she demonstrated astonishingly poor judgment. Haspel also regularly lobbied for the CIA to destroy videotapes of torture that were visual proof of the CIA’s crimes, and, without approval from senior White House officials, wrote the order implementing their destruction. Suspiciously, the tape’s destruction occurred immediately after publication of a Washington Post story on secret sites in eastern Europe that was expected to trigger a Congressional investigation, and likely uncover the activities she helped oversee.

John Bolton epitomizes philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ characterization of humanity as “nasty, brutish, and short.” Bolton was an architect of the Iraq War, and pines for its continuation, having said “Iraq today suffers not from the 2003 invasion, but from the 2011 withdrawal of all US combat forces.” He shows little awareness of how Iraq suffers from his bad policy positions. Bolton’s nomination to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations was rejected by the Senate, and President George W. Bush, who had nominated him, later said he did not consider Bolton credible. In Strangelovian fashion, Bolton has repeatedly called for military attacks on Iran and North Korea. While Bolton does not need confirmation to serve as advisor to Trump, he has demonstrated a lack of judgment, temperament, and humility to be a public servant, as those who have had the misfortune to serve with him attest. When the age of humanity draws to a close, Bolton will still be at war with East Asia.

The following organizations urge Sen. Schumer and Senate Democrats to do all they can to stop the Pompeo and Haspel nominations.

18 Million Rising
198 methods
About Face: Veterans Against the War
Advocacy for Principled Action in Government
American Family Voices
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Popular Democracy
Climate Hawks Vote
Common Defense
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Courage Campaign
CREDO Action
Daily Kos
Defending Rights & Dissent
Demand Progress Action
Democracy for America
Fight for the Future
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Free Press Action Fund
Just Foreign Policy
New York Communities for Change
No More Guantánamos
Oil Change International
The Other 98%
Our Revolution
Peace Action
People Demanding Action
Progressive Congress Action Fund
Public Citizen
Restore the 4th
Revolving Door Project
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
The Nation
The Yemen Peace Project
Working Families Party
Win Without War
World Beyond War